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Poster: SDH2O Date: Dec 2, 2006 10:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Review Bias Compromise

I know that in several earlier thread, folks have expressed, um, shall we say some deep seeded displeasure with how show reviews are made here. They say that it's much more helpful if the anecdotal stuff is left out and the focus remain on the music and the quality of the recording. Others have said that the "anecdotal" stuff, you know, reminiscing about how it was the first time you took 5 hits and you swear that the roof of the place turned to liquid and swallowed your keys, leaving you to have an intimate conversation with a piece of lint you found in your belly button, and so on, is imoportant to get an overall "feel" for the show. Well, I for one do enjoy reading some of the stories, but when it comes to reviewing the music, I find that folks that were actually there have a tendencey to, how do I put this nicely?, overrate the performance and include all the extraneous stuff. Don'f freak on me, I admit I, too, have been guilty of this, swearing that the show I was at was one of the Best Ever, but everyone else who only heard the tape said that it was mediocre at best. Having been at a show definitely can skew your perception and especially your memory of it. When I am considering which shows to download, I always give more credence to those reviews written by folks who were NOT at that show as they approach it from an unbiased position. Perhaps we could include in the Review form a box to check that indicates this review is being written by someone who attended the show and even let the viewer have the choice of sorting the reviews into two groups before reading them. Would this satisfy those folks who don't care to read about how blue Larry's hat looked? Just throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks.

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Poster: JodyC Date: Dec 2, 2006 3:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

I read it all and enjoy most. I went to relatively few shows and don't mind listening to the stories. The only thing I have a problem with, and there is no way to stop it, is when there are such different opinions of the quality. One reviewer says crystal clear, the other says taped from inside a box. Then theres the top ten of the year from one, and worst show of the run from another. I usually look at he number of reviews plus the number of downloads/views. If a show has 30+ reviews, I assume its for a reason. Shit, what do I have to lose on 3 discs, the cost of half a beer? I give the show to someone who thinks its the coolest thing. I have become spoiled with the phenomenol overall quality of music here and our other favorite sites. Mmmmmm. Meyers dark rum and pineapple juice. Almost healthy!

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Dec 2, 2006 5:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

Take note, most of the reviews aren't written by regulars on the boards, and other folks long gone, so it would be difficult to change the tone of what already exists. I rely more on the recommendations that come from a few trusted souls right here on the board. There's usually enough praise heaped on any number of shows in a weeks time to stay busy checking them out.

If left to my own devices, I normally go to known territory, a specific year or specific run and check out the fringe dates for sleepers that have been overlooked. I also venture into the 80's and 90's when I see some agreement on the board, then stream before seeking out a SBD to DL on another venue.

Another avenue is checking out Deadbase for special guests, breakouts, firsts and lasts...then coming back here to check the reviews and ratings. Stream for audio quality and head somewhere else to DL if warranted. There's more than one way to skin a cat. (with apologies to PETA)

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Poster: wagglebee Date: Dec 2, 2006 11:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

"reminiscing about how it was the first time you took 5 hits and you swear that the roof of the place turned to liquid and swallowed your keys, leaving you to have an intimate conversation with a piece of lint you found in your belly button,"


Or you could start a totally new thread about this!

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Poster: BryanE Date: Dec 2, 2006 2:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

Oh let's!

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Poster: SDH2O Date: Dec 2, 2006 11:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

I would, but the lint has made me promise to keep the coversation private, sorry.

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Poster: wagglebee Date: Dec 2, 2006 12:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

Mine was a fishtank at a friend's after a Pink Floyd show back in 87, I'm fairly certain that all of the fish are dead though!

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Poster: Fishead Date: Dec 5, 2006 8:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

here's a good one from 9-3-88 review:


this was the only night billy and mickey played beach,bongo,bingo upon my head i swear during drums i was on a tropical island with breezes of pachouli and honeysuckle blowing on the beach!!must have been what was in that dixie cup someone passed me in the first set. ahhhh gone are the days!!! this show rocked. 5 for the memories



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Poster: cosmicharlie Date: Dec 5, 2006 9:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

I like that review, course I'm not all old and serious... (hrrrrmph!)I'm sure there's other reviews there that have a sober musical point of view. 10/9/76, lot's dancing of near the stage, bare breasted women spinning and moving- great show ***** !

This post was modified by cosmicharlie on 2006-12-05 17:06:23

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Poster: cush11 Date: Dec 2, 2006 10:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

Good idea. Some of the best shows I was at turned out to be some of the crappiest I've heard. I do like having both options, there are some good show related stories, but straight ahead reviews are very helpful too...

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Dec 2, 2006 11:01am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

A good point.

Ideally, the reviewer should listen back to the show he's reviewing even if he had already attended it.

I know the bulk of the shows I went to (and had a great time at, and loved while I was there) were from the years spanning 1985-1988, which i also objectively say is probably the worst, weakest run of Dead shows ever, outside of the '92-'95 death march period.

I think it's fine to note that you were there, but any review should be just that--a REVIEW--in the truest sense of the word. Take the time to go back, listen again, think beyind your memories of how fun it was at the time and give as honest and objective a review as possible.

Opinions of course will still differ, as so much is subjective. But if we're all honest we can differentiate between a show like Cornell '77 and some piece of crap from 1986.

I gave a review of the October 1983 at MSG I attended when they pulled out the Stephen for the first time in 5 years...now THAT should be metioned, even tho' it's not a performance review or sound quality review, and if someone is looking for a monster crowd reaction, there you go. But the fact is, as amazing as that show was to BE there, when you go back and listen, it wasn't very good. 3 stars at best, and the sound quality of the AUD is pretty weak. So noted. There were many other better shows in '83 (the following Hartford run bears that out), so I tried to base my review of the MSG show not on the grand time I had, which was 5 stars, but how the show will probably sound to others' ears--which is a 3.

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Poster: jhender501 Date: Dec 2, 2006 11:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

I like reading folk's experiences at shows or in the parking lots, etc..we all know that some of that stuff was just as much fun as the show itself.

I don't write flowing reviews that rival those of music critics..I wish I would write like the late Ralph J. Gleason who's reviews I used to read as a kid in the SF Chronicle.

Much of the time I'm listening to a show at work and don't have time to write a lengthy review but I certainly like to share my feelings on the show.


Jim

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Poster: not_a_typical_daydream Date: Dec 2, 2006 10:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

To me it doesn't really matter what the reviews say, mostly if it was something I wasn't at(i.e. everything before '89)it's usually the setlist that grabs my attention first. And I really put more weight in show recommendations like the one's everybody gave to Max Chorak a few posts back, the knowledge of the kind people on this forum and the shows they state as personal favorites is just astounding, or Oprah's pick of the week, 5/15/70, I don't need any further review than what the good Doctor said. Or if one of the more experienced Head's throws out a particularly sweet '69 show, you read the review and there is always someone pissin about tape hiss, nevermind the brilliant Dark Star>Morning Dew>Other One>Mountains>Lovelight, the tape hiss makes it unlistenable, and those comments don't really factor in to my listening or not listening.
Peace and hang loose.

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Dec 2, 2006 11:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

No rules! For me I ONLY use reveiws as a guide to listen before I download. Not that I listen to a whole show before I download, just snippets. Usually I'm only concerned with sound quality. The handful I've written are usually because I want to call attention to something I think is overlooked and I only ever reveiw the highlights. I don't know, I guess I put little to no stock in reveiws. I liked to stumble across I guess.Guess this doesn't help your quandry does it?

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Dec 2, 2006 1:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

Agreed, the LMA reviews (apart from those few--dr.flashback, orchiddr, stratocaster, purplegel, and some others i cannot recall--whose opinions and observations i value), serve me more as pulp, often interesting and wacky diversions as i listen to a stream. Most of the time, my seeking out a show or particular sequence, is because of what someone writes in this forum. As well, the setlist and era plays a part too.

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Poster: orchiddoctor Date: Dec 2, 2006 1:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

Not that I've reviewed all that much.

Let there be a split. Firsst, you don't have to read or accept a review that doesn't meet your criteria. And I agree that some of these I was there reviews are not worth much to the downloader.

Over on the Pearl jam board, they ask stuff like what is your favorite boot from the 2006 such and such and invariably votes are based on who was where.

BUT--some of the best reviews in Dwork's Compendium (get a copy) are interesting for the background given. Note I say background.

The "I was at ______ with this foxy chick who blew more than my mind" review tells me you didn't have time to listen to the music. ANd, believe me, being at the Fillmore East adds magic both on and in front of the stage. But was the show that good on tape? Tape is like a photograph: it reveals the warts and weaknesses as well as the brilliance.

BUT--there is nothing wrong with telling about a show--the show itself--from one's personal perspective. For example. I saw the Academy of Music run in March 1972. The evening with Bo Diddly was billed as Jerry Garcia and Friends--a Hell's Angels benefit. Was the scene worth describing? Walking down the street to the gleam of hogs and tatoos? The roar of engines and the edginess of fear an awe? Going in and taking seats on the lip of the balcony of the old theater? Looking down at the tie dyed equipment, watching the boys (yay! It IS a Dead concert) walk out with Mr. Diddly and his box guitar? Boom-de-boom-boom-de boom, every chair in the place joining the beat? The grin on Jerry's face? Then later, the Pig roaring, Bobby unveiling "Looks like rain" with Jerry crying on pedal steel? The joint was rockin'.

Did I once mention my girlfriend's tits or what I was smoking or my shoes? Nope, just painting a picture of the music. A postcard.

Then, yes, absolutely--what does the document say? Was it a good show? How were the jams? And the sound? Some of those shows are horrible auds and some are good sbds, and Bo Diddly is on a DP. Be honest, they aren't all that hot.

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Poster: BryanE Date: Dec 2, 2006 2:29pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

As opposed to overrating a show, over on the other end of the scale, and this probably has nothing to do with people reviewing shows they actually saw, I find a LOT of reviewers who sound like they just want to rag. To echo what not_a_typical_daydream wrote, it's generally the setlist that grabs my attention. Then I listen to it, and I go, "Hey, this is pretty good." But then I read reviews that say "This show sucks," and I ask, "Did this person listen to the same show I listened to?"

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Dec 3, 2006 9:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Review Bias Compromise

Having gone through enough reviews and the ideas you folks threw out on one of my requests to reference "good reviewers" I'm at a point where I can sift through the ones I need. While I can get annoyed when people tell me that an Omni show in 94 is better than Cornell 77, that's their opinion and I leave it at that. Where I get steamed is when some putz gets nasty and pissy telling everyone to "stop with the negativity" or "you don't get it because you weren't there." These are the same clowns who probably sat next to me at the Mardi Gras show in Oakland 95 and told me the garbage 35 min first set was "awesome".